It's May, and we're rounding the corner to see summer break growing steadily closer. Many families start planning vacations and summer care in March, or even sooner, but we often don't begin thinking about summer learning until the break is breathing down our necks and the teacher sends home the optional summer homework packet.
You may have heard of, or experienced, what educators call the summer slip. I like to think of the brain as a muscle. Just like your biceps, if not used for months at a time, your brain will have a hard time flexing itself again once it's time to go back to school. If your child doesn’t use their academic skills during the summer months, they’re likely to lose some of the hard earned knowledge they gained during the school year. This is why most educators suggest making sure your child is learning and practicing their academic skills over the summer.
When most people think of summer learning, they think of formal camps, activities, and elaborate study routines. But preventing summer slip doesn't have to be time consuming, difficult, or expensive. Keeping your child's brain active doesn't have to take up even more time in your busy schedule, and most learning activities can be 100% free.
Use everyday tasks
With a little thought, you can help your child learn while going about your family's busy day. Brainstorm ways your child can learn during your daily routine. Activities like writing grocery lists, making change, and measuring ingredients are great ways for your child to practice the academic skills they gained during the school year. Having your child participate in just one of these activities a day can help keep their skills sharp. Take it a step further by including your child in summer projects like gardening and building.
Games provide a great opportunity for your child to learn while having fun. Even standard board games give students opportunities to practice counting and strategy. Google games that target the skill(s) you want your child to practice this summer and choose a few that seem like a good fit. You can also chat with your child’s teacher about what learning games your child enjoyed this school year and where to locate them.
A few of our favorite learning games are bananagrams, trifecta, and monopoly jr.
Take advantage of your child's interests
Summer is the perfect opportunity for your child to explore things they’ve been curious about. Our modern school structure doesn’t leave much room for students to inquire about and research the subjects their interested in. When your child asks you questions or shows interest in something, encourage them to research it, build it, or experiment with it. The bonus? You won’t have to do much nagging to motivate your child to learn using this method.
Want more structured classes around things that interest your child (like minecraft or dinosaurs)? Check out the online classes on Outschool.
Utilize online tutoring
If your child had trouble keeping up last school year, summer break is the perfect time to help them fill gaps in their learning and get ahead through personalized online instruction. Our online tutors love to help students build the confidence and skills they need to start the school year strong. Online tutoring is a great option for summer because your child can access their tutoring session from anywhere they have access to a computer and internet. This means your child can get the help they need from the comfort of your home, or while traveling. For more information about online summer tutoring, click here.
How do you plan to prevent summer slip? We would love to hear in the comments!
Hoffman Tutoring Group